I am part of a panel tomorrow in Cambridge talking about our new research on managing reputations online. Since I try to anticipate questions, I thought I would review which CEOs are blogging these days. I expect that someone might ask if CEOs should blog. Our research found that most executives say that less than 50% of corporate blogs are accurate. That may or may not be the case but I would add that any CEO who blogs has put their reputation on the line because it is easy to slip up.
Lately I have been fascinated by Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh. I have bought shoes from the online retailer and have to admit it was a great experience. My daughter is always buying from Zappos which is how I heard about them (word of mouth). The Zappos return policy is perfect for her because she gets 365 days to return shoes. Tony also twitters which is where I usually follow his comings and goings. Zappos’ culture is all about the best customer service and the CEO says that culture is the brand. I think he has it right. I found this comment about their hiring process which says it all:
“At the end of the first week of training, we make an offer to the entire class. We offer everyone $2000 to quit (in addition to paying them for the time they’ve already worked), and it’s a standing offer until the end of the fourth week of training. We want to make sure that employees are here for more than just a paycheck. We want employees that believe in our long term vision and want to be a part of our culture. As it turns out, on average, less than 1% of people end up taking the offer.”
Reputations are built on many factors. Culture is certainly one and that is evident when reading Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For. Customer excellence is another prime factor. Zappos is a good best practice company for those interested in reputation-building.